10 Northeastern athletes make the 2022 professional league draft


Sadie Parker

Sebastian Keane throwing a pitch

Amelia Ballingall, news correspondent

Each year, North America’s major sports leagues take their pick of the best young athletes in the world. With these drafts, the teams gain the rights to potential future players, and the players get their shot at being a professional athlete. In July, both the NHL and MLB, carried out drafts, with multiple teams adding Northeastern University athletes to their rosters.

The NHL drafted seven Northeastern players, more than any other NCAA school and the most in Northeastern’s history. Cameron Lund, a freshman from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was the first Northeastern student spotted in the draft. Most recently a member of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League, or USHL, Lund’s work on offense, both as a center and wing, led him to be picked 34th overall in the second round by the San Jose Sharks. 

Jack Hughes, a sophomore forward whose November 2003 birthday made him ineligible for the 2021 NHL draft, was Northeastern’s other second-round pick. With a year of college hockey under his belt and a family highly accomplished in the sport, Hughes’s draft was highly anticipated. He was chosen 51st overall by the L.A. Kings.

The Sharks gained another Husky with the draft of defenseman Michael Fisher in the third round. With only high school experience, rather than USHL, Fisher was in a slightly different position than his peers. However, his ranking as the highest scoring defenseman in prep school hockey during the 2021-2022 season and his top scores in the NHL’s agility test during the 2022 NHL Scouting Combine vaulted him to the top of his class. Fisher is expected to play in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms before starting at Northeastern in the fall of 2023.

Chosen in the fourth round was Cameron Whitehead, a goalie off of the USHL’s Lincoln Stars. This Ontario-born player, in his second year of draft eligibility, was drafted 128th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights. He is set to attend Northeastern University beginning in the fall of 2023. Also drafted in the fourth round was freshman defenseman Hunter McDonald. Having spent the past two years in the USHL playing for the Omaha Lancers and the Chicago Steel, McDonald was in his final year of draft eligibility when he was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers. Northeastern University rounded out its NHL hockey draft with two later round picks. Freshman defenseman Jackson Dorrington was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round and freshman James Fisher was chosen by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the seventh. 

Hockey was not the only sport where Northeastern students found draft success this year; three Huskies were selected during the MLB draft in July, all of them redshirt sophomore pitchers. Cameron Schlittler was the first Northeastern player to make his way into the major league this year when he was drafted to the New York Yankees in the seventh round. Then, in the 15th round, Thomas Balboni found himself in the draft when he was chosen by the San Diego Padres. The last Husky in the 2022 MLB draft came in the 18th round, when the New York Yankees made another Northeastern selection with Sebastian Keane. Keane was formerly drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2019 draft, but declined an offer to sign with the team in favor of pursuing a college career and degree. Since the July 2022 draft, all three players have signed with their respective teams.

In preparation for their futures as potential NHL players, 14 current and future Northeastern students attended development camps this past summer. Players from the 2022 NHL draft — Hughes, Lund, McDonald and Dorrington — got the opportunity to train with their potential future team. Some athletes from previous years’ drafts also attended development camps. Junior forward Sam Colangelo trained with the Anaheim Ducks, senior defenseman Jayden Struble with the Montreal Canadiens, junior forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine with the Nashville Predators, senior forward Riley Hughes with the New York Rangers, graduate student forward Jakov Novak with the Ottawa Senators, senior forward Aidan McDonough with the Vancouver Canucks and junior goalie Devon Levi with the Buffalo Sabres. Levi was traded to the Sabres from the Florida Panthers July 2021. 

A few free agent Huskies also got a chance to train under the NHL this summer through invitations from different teams. Freshman defenseman Vinny Borgesi trained with the Colorado Avalanche, sophomore forward Justin Hryckowian trained with the Washington Capitals, and Liam Walsh, a graduate student transferring to Northeastern from Merrimack College, attended the Calgary Flames development camp.

While the draft does not guarantee an athlete a spot on the ice or the field, it certainly increases the likelihood. The draft secures the rights to a player to a specific team, barring other teams from offering them contracts. Then, as players develop in their sport, they’re traded, offered contracts or given other opportunities. Through Northeastern’s athletic programs, the 10 young Huskies drafted by major sports teams this past summer will all have the tools to succeed in their sport as they continue their higher education and further their college careers.